Ever since I first started putting together a steampunk costume, I've been concerned with what to do with my hair. I had long hair for most of my life, but finally cut it short several years ago and have no desire to go back. But a short bob doesn't quite look right with Victorian clothing. I really wanted some sort of impressive Victorian updo. I've found different solutions to the hair problem over the years, and I've done a lot of research on the subject. And finally I am ready to share the results of my search with everyone.
First, there are some really good tutorials out there on how to achieve Victorian hairstyles. These are slightly unhelpful for me since they mostly require either longer hair than I have or better hairdressing skills. (I am really not good at doing hair. This is part of my problem.)
The Seamstress of Avalon has a great series of tutorials on Victorian hairstyles:
The Gibson Girl
Civil War Hair
Late Victorian Hair (Using a Hairpiece)
There's an interesting tutorial on doing a mock Gibson Girl with shorter hair on the livejournal group Vintage Hair. That community isn't as active anymore, but it's a good source for inspiration on various vintage hair looks. There are a bunch of tutorials of varying quality and varying time period there. (Especially good for dieselpunk looks.)
Finally, here's a tutorial for doing a "Gibson Tuck." I've managed this style with my above shoulder length hair, and there are different ways you can finish this style, depending on your hair length. This is also a good style for wearing with hats.
So, I've personally experimented with a few different things. As I said, I'm not skilled at ALL at hair styling, don't even own basic hair tools like a curling iron, and hate to spend a lot of time getting ready. So for anything to work for me it has to be pretty idiot-proof and quick. Also my hair is really fine and completely straight. After attending an inspiring hair styling panel at Clockwork Con, I bought some rollers and tried putting up my hair wet to get a curl. When I took the rollers out I had beautiful spiral curls. Twenty minutes later my hair was almost totally straight. It will not hold a curl and never has.
|The back of my head with hairpiece.|
|A view from the side|
But I've always had a problem with this piece. It still looks like I'm wearing a ponytail, and ponytails don't really scream 'Victorian.' My next move was to buy a full wig and try to style it into an updo. I bought a long, wavy wig and set out to learn all I could about wig styling. I managed to get the wig into a couple of nice-looking Victorian updos. But once I had the wig styled, it was too small for my head, being already on the smallish side. (I have a large head...) Plus, it was really hot and uncomfortable. I put the wig aside, dejected.
|Wearing my $5 ebay bun.|
|My hairfall style from Nightmare machine.|
Finally I did attend another panel on Steampunk Hair Friday night. It focused on fairly simple-to-do styles, and the presenter (Karen Weaver) showed us several variations on the Gibson tuck style. I offered myself as a guinea pig, and got the following style. Now I just have to recreate it.
If you're interested in seeing more examples of Victorian hair and some more tutorials that I think could work well for steampunk, check out my Steampunk Hair board on Pinterest.